Toronto 2011: Day 2 Recap

George Clooney, Bryce Dallas Howard and "The Artist" are among the highlights Friday at the festival.

I woke up early to finish preparations for three interviews, each of which wound up going well (and will post here as soon as possible): the first was with Bryce Dallas Howard, the daughter of Ron Howard and a fine actress/producer in her own right, who is here to promote two cancer-centric films, 50/50, which she plays a small part, and Restless, which she produced; Gus Van Sant, the great director of indies and the occasional mainstream film, who directed Restless; and Albert Brooks, the comedy icon who rarely does press, but is doing a few interviews here to promote Drive, in which he gives a haunting dramatic turn. (I shared an elevator up to one of the interviews with a guy wearing a flamboyant white fur coat, who I eventually recognized as Ezra Miller, a best supporting actor hopeful for his villainous turn in We Need to Talk About Kevin.)

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After the Brooks interview ended, I rushed over to see Machine Gun Preacher, which I've been really looking forward to, but they were running late, so I had to bounce because I couldn't afford to be late for my next screening, the world premiere of the dramedy Friends Aith Kids, because I'll be interviewing stars Jon Hamm, Megan Fox, and Adam Scott tomorrow.

After that wrapped, I headed over to a reception for The Ides of March, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival a few days ago and had its world premiere after tonight's gathering. While there, I spent a few minutes chatting with star George Clooney, who I met a few times during awards seasons past, and who greeted me by joking, "What is this?! I'm wearing a tie and you're not!"

Clooney was dressed to the nines and sporting a new haircut for Ides' big stateside unveiling, which he was very excited about -- "It's nice to be able to show it to an English-speaking audience," he said. His other film playing here, The Descendants, was his primary focus last week at the Telluride Film Festival, a much tamer festival than Toronto's.

I told him that I was blown away by how accessible he made himself there, where he had virtually no entourage and couldn't have been friendlier to locals and journalists alike. He responded, "Well, you know as well as anyone that I'm not able to go out and just have a drink at a bar very often, but there I was." "And people were respectful?" I asked. "I don't know about 'respectful,'" he chuckled, "but as good as I could have hoped for. I'd like to go back sometime when I don't have to sell a movie and just watch movies."

Before I headed out, I also had a chance to say hello to Clooney's longtime writing/producing partner Grant Heslov. Also in attendance were his Ides co-stars Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood (sporting a top hat and tux-like outfit like Marlene Dietrich in Morocco).

Then it was off to the Soho House for Harvey Weinstein's dinner in honor of The Artist. I chatted quite extensively with writer/director Michel Hazanavicius (who speaks English very well -- we talked about our favorite silent movies) and star Jean Dujardin (who speaks only a little English -- he required translation from The Weinstein Company's French-fluent Victoria Parker -- but who made a pact with TWC's marketing/publicity co-chief Sarah Greenberg Roberts that they would learn each other's languages by Christmas Day. (I suggested that Oscar night might be a more realistic -- and more pertinent -- deadline!)

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